Spinal Emergencies in Primary Care Practice

Atraumatic spinal emergencies often present a diagnostic and management dilemma for health care practitioners. Spinal epidural abscess, cauda equina syndrome, and spinal epidural hematoma are conditions that can insidiously present to outpatient medical offices, urgent care centers, and emergency departments. Unless a high level of clinical suspicion is maintained, these clinical entities may be initially misdiagnosed and mismanaged. Permanent neurologic sequela and even death can result if delays in appropriate treatment occur.

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